Ever since the WHO declared the novel Coronavirus a pandemic on March 19th, 2020, businesses have had to adapt to very stringent measures. For most business owners, the COVID-19 outbreak has been one of their most difficult moments. Apart from bad business, employers have had to be extra vigilant about the health of their workers.
Many business owners turn to workers’ compensation insurance for worker injuries and illnesses. The novel coronavirus seems to have blurred lines on what workers’ compensation claims cover. Fortunately for employees, workers’ compensation does extend to COVID-19 cases.
If your business is operating, read on to find out all about workers’ compensation for your staff against COVID- 19.
COVID- 19 and Workers’ Compensation Claims: What Should Employers Know
Regardless of what type of business you run, prepare for a potential spike in claims. That’s because more infections equal to more workers’ comp claims.
In some cases, under-staffing may lead to overexertion, which can result in work-related injuries.
Plus, by now, you should be well aware that workers’ compensation rates vary across industries. The coronavirus poses a great challenge to normal working operations. However, there’s a way around this inconvenience.
Here are a few ways employers can prepare themselves for the unprecedented spike in workers’ compensation claims.
Telecommuting hasn’t been a very feasible choice for most employers. However, because of how contagious the virus is, their hands are pretty much tied. COVID- 19 has forced both employers and employees to work remotely from home.
This translates to limited oversight of employees’ work, which may undermine the quality of work. There might also be the improper use of work equipment, which may cause injuries.
There’s been a rise in unemployment cases ever since the coronavirus reared its ugly head. However, in some companies, the opposite is happening. Logistic companies and online retailers are hiring more and more employees to meet the demand for online deliveries.
With so many employees and so little time for safety training, workplace injuries are highly likely. As such, it’s imperative to have them covered by workers’ comp. Also, they are prone to interactions with clients and may contract the virus if they don’t take all the necessary precautions.
New hires are a great way to scale your business operations, but you should be careful with your new employees. Ensure they have robust workers’ compensation because they are the most likely to get work-related injuries or illnesses.
The State of Unemployment
Due to the recent lay-offs in most companies, workers could try to get a little something of their benefits to offset their unemployment. As such, employers need to keep an eye for fraudulent claims. That’s because insurance providers don’t take fraudulent claims lightly.
The consequences for filing a fraudulent workers’ compensation include a fine of up to $150,00 and a one-year jail sentence. So ensure you only file legitimate workers’ compensation claims because you risk being jailed for filing fraudulent claims.
What Should You Expect When Filing a Claim During the COVID- 19 Pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about stringent conditions that have dramatically changed how we conduct our usual day-to-day activities. The changes have also affected insurance providers and workers’ compensation board offices.
Here are a couple of new scenarios you should expect when filing workers’ compensation.
With the novel coronavirus, expect your insurance provider to handle claims a little delayed. For instance, your insurance provider may take longer than usual to respond to your claims. That’s because plenty of workers’ compensation board offices all across the country are closed.
For some unique cases, you’ll have to conduct your hearings virtually. Even so, virtual hearings are pretty rare and aren’t something you can put your money on. You are, however, more likely to get a virtual hearing than a physical one.
Most claims filed by employees are being postponed. Judging by the spike in workers’ compensation claims companies are filing, you might wait a good long time for your hearing.
Delayed Treatment and Recoveries
Hospitals are currently overwhelmed, and as such, you should also anticipate delayed treatment for your workers. For that reason, it’s important to consider part-time workers or contractors to stand in for any injured or sick workers. That way, you can avoid any major interference with your usual business activities.
Despite the shortage of medical professionals and other healthcare workers, claimants can still get their full benefits. However, this only happens when the workers’ compensation board reviews your workers’ case. With the heavy backlog, it might take a while to review all pending cases even if the pandemic dies off.
How Can Employers Handle the COVID-19 Workers’ Comp Situation?
The novel coronavirus has dealt a massive blow to many businesses across the globe. If you’re still operating, you’re among the lucky ones. The workers’ comp issue is difficult but manageable.
Here is what you can do to address issues with workers’ compensation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Telemedicine is a viable treatment option for injured or sick employees. The employees in question don’t have to see the doctor face-to-face. They can do it virtually and adhere to the social-distancing guidelines.
Some states don’t allow telemedicine for worker’s compensation. However, if your state does, then it’s a great alternative to a doctor’s visit.
Streamline Your Company’s Claim Process
You can do so by hiring claim experts to straighten out matters with your claims. Also, embrace computer software to help manage these claims.
Workers’ Compensation Covers for COVID-19
The current pandemic presents one of the most challenging times for employers worldwide. Thankfully, workers’ compensation claims safeguard your employees during these trying times.
As an employer, it is your responsibility to protect your workers from any work-related injuries or illnesses. Your employees need yours most during this pandemic. Make sure you do your best to ensure their workers’ compensation claims go through.
Request a quote today and see how we can help you safeguard your workers’ health during this pandemic.